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Being a teenager is the most exciting transition period of human development. This is the period where we go through series of great physical changes. This is also the era where we begin to discover and experiment on many things including sex, drugs, among others. Oates’ Where are you going? Where have you been? was published four decades ago and the teenager has underwent many changes ever since (Oats 1966. ) Connie, the character in the Oates’ story, has a very low self-esteem. She doesn’t value her education and does not seem to go along well with her family.

She enjoys spending time with her friends than with her sister who she believes is a bore. Connie’s character reminds us of a typical problem child who refuses to be corrected, who thinks she can very well stand on her own despite her many frailties. But like every problem child in our midst, we know that all she needed is a little understanding and lots of love. Some of the story’s elements are still relevant in today’s teenage culture. Teenagers today are still taking the fastest route to life. There are still those who believe that life must not be taken too seriously.


Connie gets easily faltered because of her lack of self-worth. It is important for anyone to continue to believe in oneself and realize our potentials. Young people then and now are impatient to grow up forgetting that the teenage life is just a phase that they will get over with in no time at all. Like Connie, they become so close to their peers and forget that they each have their own unique qualities which they must try to discover and develop. We must realize that we are all responsible for our actions. Before realizing this, they have become victims of their own wrongdoings.

We cannot put the blame entirely to our busy parents, although they have responsibilities over their children. We can understand what drove Connie to be swayed into the character of Arnold. She cannot fight off Arnold for she is not really that strong. Her potentials were not fully utilized so she was finding it hard to come up with the right decision. The youth of today are blessed with personal sense. They are aware of their power to change their future with their attitudes on life. It is not enough to be self-reliant.

We still need the guidance of our parents to make it through life’s many obstacles. And it is also important that we value education for it will help us achieve our goals easier. A good education will be our ticket to the realization of our dreams. Connie’s character may still be seen in today’s youth although perhaps technology has ‘modernize’ the character and modified the problems that is besetting the youth of today. The Internet, which was still an unfamiliar territory during Connie’s time, has become the best friend of today’s teenagers.

Practically anything is available at the click of a mouse. Parents are now more concerned with the number of hours teenagers spend with the computers than they used to consume with their peers. On a final note, teenagers should keep in mind that that our families will always be our anchor. They will continue to defend us and won’t ever forsake us no matter what the season. We should learn from Connie’s character and try to reform the irregularities present in her character.

Works Cited Joyce Carol Oates. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? 1966

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